After checking in, going through security, and trekking through the terminal to find your gate, who wouldn’t want to relax in an airport lounge? These exclusive spaces provide travelers with desirable amenities to keep you comfortable ahead of your flight. That being said, not all airport lounges are made the same. Some airports go above and beyond with luxe features that seem out of reach for someone who’s about to be crammed for hours in a middle seat.
If you’re looking to relax and enjoy some nice perks before flying, look no further than these top tier airport lounges. We also share how you can access these spaces during your next trip.
Air France La Première Lounge in Paris
After walking along the Seine and ogling at the Eiffel Tower, finish off your trip by hanging out in the luxe Air France La Première Lounge in the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. You can indulge in a snack, full meal or cocktail courtesy of the fine dining table service available in the lounge. There’s also an entire wellness area where you can enjoy Botanical treatments, facials, and body treatments.¹
How to Access: You’ll have to be a first-class passenger on an Air France flight to enjoy the perks of this lounge. Instead of dishing out thousands of dollars on a ticket, you could opt for one of the cheaper lounges at this airport. Passes cost between €35 to €60 depending on your terminal and you could also pay with Miles.²
United Polaris Lounge in Chicago
One of the classiest looking airport lounges in the U.S. can be found in Chicago. You can feel full ahead of your flight thanks to the extensive buffet service and full-service bar at the United Polaris Lounge. There are also quiet suites and showers available to feel refreshed ahead of long haul travel itineraries.³
How to Access: Those traveling business class on a United flight can enter the Polaris Lounge. Other passengers can purchase a one-time pass for $59 to enjoy this lounge. If you’re a frequent flier, consider buying an annual membership for $650.⁴
Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge in Hong Kong
Fancy a glass of champagne while you wait to board your flight? The Wing first class lounge literally welcomes you with premium champagne to sip on. This lounge is located in Hong Kong, which is perfect for people departing or transitioning through this airport.⁵`
Guests can be productive at one of the workstations or unwind in a temperature-controlled Cabana with a tub, rain shower and day bed. You can also pay a visit to The Haven restaurant that serves up a combination of Western and Asian dishes.
How to Access: You will need to be a first class passenger on a Cathay Pacific or Oneworld Airline. You can also access it with a Oneworld top-tier Emerald status.⁶
Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai
Wine connoisseurs will love hanging out in the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai. You can sip on some vintage wines in the Le Clos Wine Cellar before venturing off on your flight. There’s also a cigar bar, shower spas, and direct boarding for passengers to take advantage of.⁷
How to Access: This lounge is complimentary for First Class, Business Class, and eligible Emirates Skywards customers. Other passengers can pay to access this lounge for up to four hours at a price of $300 USD.⁸
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha
You’ll forget that you’re even in an airport upon stepping into the Al Safwa First Lounge. The space is decked in sandstone and marble details which was inspired by the design of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. Passengers can also admire a show stopping water fountain, fine art installations, and even artifacts borrowed from the museum.
The services in this lounge live up to its luxe interior. Enjoy rejuvenating spa treatments and a jacuzzi or feast on Arabic-infused cuisine at the restaurant. There’s also a cinematic media room and full business center.⁹
How to Access: First Class passengers and Privilege Club Platinum members traveling Business Class on Qatar Airways can access this lounge. Those passengers also have up to two guest passes available for friends or family to use.
Etihad First Lounge in Abu Dhabi
There’s a lot to like about the Etihad First Lounge. Located in the Abu Dhabi airport, this sophisticated space comes with a restaurant serving dishes inspired by the Middle East and airline destinations. You can book an exclusive lounge, workout in the fitness room, and kick back with a drink from the Etihad cellar.10How to Access: Regardless of what cabin you’re flying in, you can pay to access this lounge. It’s relatively affordable compared to other first class lounges at a price of $180 USD per adult.
The Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas
Anyone who pays a visit to The Centurion Lounge can expect to be well fed. The lounge serves up a locally-inspired menu designed by chef Kim Canteenwalla. Aside from good food, guests can hang out in the family room, sip on drinks at the premium bar, watch some television, and other homey amenities.11How to Access: There are over 40 Centurion lounges in airports around the world available to American Express cardholders. You can find out if your card is eligible with a search online. Members can bring guests at a rate of $50 per person.12
First Class Terminal in Frankfurt
What could be better than a first class lounge? A first class terminal that can be found at Frankfurt Airport. This terminal spans over 19,000 square feet of relaxed space that’s exclusive to first class travelers. They can visit the bar where there are over 130 different types of whisky to choose from. There’s also a cigar bar, fine dining, and no shortage of lounge chairs.
How to Access: You need to be a first class passenger to access this terminal, but travel companions on the same flight with a valid boarding pass can also be admitted as a guest.13
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in London
It makes sense why the Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport is described as more of a five-star hotel than an airport lounge. Order food in the Brasserie, lounge on the roof terrace, rejuvenate in the relaxation areas, and enjoy a stress-free airport experience. You can even break a sweat on one of the Peloton bikes that overlook the runway.
How to Access: Passengers traveling in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, Delta One, certain Flying Club Gold members, and several other cardholders are able to access this lounge.14
ANA SUITE LOUNGE in Tokyo
The epitome of cool airport lounges can be found at ANA SUITE LOUNGE at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. There’s a ton of modern seating designed both for work and relaxation. If you get hungry, indulge at the buffet counter, noodle bar or restaurant-styled meals. Shower rooms, massage chairs, free Wi-Fi are other amenities you can expect.
How to Access: First class passengers and Diamond Service Members on ANA-operated or Star Alliance flights are eligible. They’re also allowed to bring one guest.15
Are Airport Lounges Worth Paying For?
There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to splurge on an airport lounge pass. They might want to get away from the chaos in the terminal, get some work done in a quieter area, or lounge in comfier seats. It’s up to you whether or not that would be beneficial during your travels.
If you can do without the glitz and glamour that first class lounges offer, then consider looking into more affordable lounges. You can still take advantage of nice-to-have amenities that you wouldn’t get by simply waiting at your gate.
Purchase Lounge Passes Online
For travellers riding in coach without automatic access to airport lounges, how can they gain access? Start by looking into your credit card perks. For instance, some American Express cardholders allow access to a network of Centurion Lounges worldwide.
CNN says there are also lounge memberships you can purchase that range from $99 to $429 per year depending on how many visits you need.16 Other ways to secure a spot in an airport lounge include:
- Obtaining an airline elite status;
- Purchase a one-time pass, and;
- Fly internationally in a premium cabin.